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tv   Face the Nation  CBS  August 22, 2010 10:30am-11:00am EDT

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>> schieffer: today on "face the nation" one war winds down as we build up for another. there is still a formidable american force there, but the last american combat brigade is out of iraq. now what? we'll talk with our top military man there, general ray odierno. then we'll switch to afghanistan for three views. our top general there david petraeus gives katie couric his evaluation of afghan president karzai. we'll hear from republican senator lindsey graham just back from afghanistan. and greg mortenson the unlikely american hero and author of free cups of tea who has built more than 150 schools for afghan children. he'll tell us what he's
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telling our military people. i'll have some final thoughts on the down side of the internet. but first iraq and afghanistan on "face the nation." captioning sponsored by cbs "face the nation" with cbs news chief washington correspondent bob schieffer. and now from cbs news in washington, bob schieffer. good morning again. well, it made for a dramatic picture. hundreds of armored vehicles in the dead of night crossing the border into kuwait. the last american combat brigade was leaving iraq after seven-and-a-half years. 50,000 american soldiers, thousands of american diplomats and contractors are still there as teachers and trainers. but the fighting units are gone. to talk about it, we're joined by our top general in iraq ray odierno who is at command headquarters in baghdad. general, thank you so much for joining us.
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i start with a serious question. have we won the war in iraq, general? >> well again i would say that we've made lots of progress here. i would say to determine whether we've won the war or not, we can see in three to five years as we see how iraq turns out. a strong democratic iraq will bring stability to the middle east. if we see iraq that's moving towards that two, three, five years from now, i think we can call our operations a success. in terms of winning the war i would just say we had seen great bravery. we'll continue to see great bravery from our soldiers, sailors and marines who have served here and how they've been able to prosecute this very difficult operation here has been magnificent. i'm very proud of what they've done. >> schieffer: saddam hussein is dead. we don't hear much about al qaeda there anymore. what is the biggest threat that you see now general? >> we still have a little bit of terrorism that operates here but it has to do with political development. it has to do with unity of
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vision. it has to do with the government now starting to move forward, move forward economically, politically, diplomatically. integrate itself back into the region. we are seeing movement towards that. but that is the most important thing now. political, economic development. >> schieffer: some people are saying that the stalemate that the government is in now after all it's been five months since they've had the election. they still have not been able to organize a government. some people are worried that this country might again slide into some sort of military dictatorship as was there when saddam hussein reined. is that a concern to you? >> it is not. in fact the reason it's taking so long is because of the democratic process. you had the people choose 12 million people showed up to vote here. it was a very close election. that's why it's taking long to form the government because it was so close. people want to be involved in a democratic process. they want to select their
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leaders. and the political leaders here understand and realize that. they understand the importance of forming this government and the impact it will have on iraq for the next four or five years. they want to make sure they do it right. they want to make sure that they have a government that can move iraq forward into the future and make iraq a strong democratic country. i think that's why we're seeing it take so long. we all would like to see it completed as soon as possible. i think the quicker the better. it's important that they get moving forward with their continued development. it's also important to not allow terrorists to try to exploit this time now we have while we're forming this government. i think everybody realizes that. they're trying to move forward as quickly as possible. >> shiba: general, how confident are you that you're going to hand this military task over to the iraqi military people now? and i bring that up because the chief of staff of the iraqi joint forces was quoted in the wall street journal this week as saying the u.s.
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army may have to stay in iraq until 2020 because he said he doesn't think the iraqi army will be ready to ache over until then. as i understand it our plan is to be out of there next year. how confident are you of these folks being able to handle this? >> well, first, they really... we've been slowly turning it over to them now for over a year. for the last four or five months they've had the lead. they've been conducting security operations. they've been able to sustain it as a level that i think is acceptable. i think there are two issues we're talking about here. i think they're now capable of dealing with the internal security although we still have some terrorism. they're able to take care of protecting the people for the most part so the government can move forward. the second issue though is developing their capacity to protect their sovereign... the sovereign iraq and protect themselves from external threats. i think that's probably what the general was referring to.
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what happens there is it's about them technically developing, purchasing equipment, learning how to use it, learning how to redo operations. it's about protecting their air space, their territorial waters and their land borders. i think they would like to see us to be technically involved. i think his assessment is it might have to be beyond 2011. my answer to that is is we have arrangements with other countries in the region-- saudi arabia, egypt and others-- where we continue to provide technical support. if the government of iraq requests that from us, we would certainly consider that and do all we can to continue to build their capacity. >> schieffer: so if they ask us to stay longer, if they ask for more u.s. combat troops, are you saying we would give that consideration that we might actually do that? >> i think again i would say if they ask us that they might want us to stay longer, we certainly would consider that.
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we would do an assessment. that would obviously be a policy decision that would be made by the national security team and the president over time. certainly if they asked us, we would consider it. that's part of us developing a long-term strategic partnership with them. that includes a security relationship. so we certainly would consider that. but again they have not asked us. we'll wait to see what happens. i would tell you they're capable of providing their internal security, they're capable of some foundational external capability. i think if they did ask us, bob, it would be for something really just technical support and not necessarily combat forces by the way. >> schieffer: general, i want to thank you for joining us this morning. i want to thank all of the people who have served there including you for your service. thank you so much. >> thank you very much for having me today. >> schieffer: and from the war in iraq to the war in afghanistan we're joined now by senator lindsey graham a key republican on the senate armed services committee.
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he is just back from afghanistan. he's in clemson, south carolina, this morning. i want to talk about afghanistan, senator. but you just heard what the general just said. if we get to the end of next year and the iraqis want us to stay longer, we would consider that. i think it would be very, very far fetched to think that the congress would authorize sending more troops to to iraq at this point. what's your take? >> i hope they do ask us to have an enduring relationship politically, militarily, and economically. we have troops in germany and japan since world war ii. i don't think most americans would care if we had troops in iraq as long as they were safe and secure. what's happened in iraq has transformed it. a democracy in the heart of the mideast between syria and iran. we're all safer if tech continue to make progress. i hope we will have an enduring relationship of having some military presence in iraq. i think that would be smart not to let things unwind over the next three to five years.
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>> schieffer: let's shift now to afghanistan. you're just back. another of many trips there. you're in the army reserve. you were doing your reserve duty there this time. senator grammas most people know you were one of those who encouraged the surge there. you thought it was necessary. you were totally behind it. but you also were very much against the president setting a deadline of pulling our troops out next year. number one because you thought it was signaling the enemy when we're leaving but the other part was you were not sure we'd have the job done by then. after this trip, what's your assessment now? >> well, after this trip i think we can transition next summer some areas of afghanistan to afghan control. i see progress i had not seen before. if i see a scenario if things continue to develop the way they are that certain areas of afghanistan can be transitioned to afghan control and we could remove some troops safely without undermining the overall war mission. but at the end of the day the
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president has to let the afghan people, the regional players know, the american people know that we're not going to leave until we're successful. but i do see a path forward next summer to transition in certain areas of afghanistan but we will need substantial troops well past july of 2011 to get this right. >> schieffer: this is a change in position for you. >> yes. >> schieffer: six weeks ago you were not saying you thought we could safely begin to withdraw. you are now saying things have changed and you think that's possible. >> it's due to progress i've seen on the ground. it has to continue. it will always be conditioned space. there are areas of afghanistan that this new commitment of troops without the surge of troops we couldn't hold it together much longer. if we had no troops it would go back into civil war but this additional military capacity is beginning to show some effects in certain parts of afghanistan. by next summer hopefully we're on offense now. we have the ball back. for years we've been playing defense. by next summer i think we can cross mid field and some of
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our troops can come home. having said that, there will be a substantial need for many troops well past july 2011. the afghan government has to do it part on governance for us to be successful. there's a lot yet to be done. it needs to be conditioned space. the president needs to speak more openly about why we can't lose in afghanistan to get the american people behind staying and being successful. >> schieffer: the unknown component here is karzai the president of afghanistan. one of your colleagues on the armed services committee said to me just this week this is a man who still has a tribal outlook. he has no talent for governing. and he has no strategic outlook. he said basically we're stuck with him. what's your assessment of karzai right now? >> well, he's an elected leader of afghanistan. we've recognized the results. some people say they're stuck. they're stuck with lindsey graham. that's the way democracy is.
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his government is not at war with the insurgency. this he need to change their laws to allow us to detain people that are security threats. he needs to fight corruption. we have three major cases brewing from the major crimes task force kind of the untouchables in afghanistan. he cannot interfere with yos cases. we need corruption trials going forward. we need to show we're at war with the insurgency. he needs to rally his people. i think he's capable of doing that. i'm going to make sure from congress's point of view that we have benchmarks and measurements. it's now time to put him to the test. it's now time to put our self-s to the test. because we're running out of time at home. >> schieffer: senator gram, thank you so much for being with us this morning. katie couric talked to general petraeus, our top military man in afghanistan, about this very thing. president karzai. the interesting thing about this interview and watch this is how the general goes to great lengths not to criticize
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karzai. take a look. in this interview with our katie couric our top military man in afghanistan general petraeus was particularly careful not to criticize him. >> couric: let's talk about karzai for a minute, general petraeus, because he's such an important component of this effort. parliamentary elections are less than a few months away. few people that they will be free and fair. will this be an important test for karzai? >> it will be an important test for the afghan government and really for the country overall. the planning is is well ahead of where the planning was was for the presidential elections last year. clearly a lot of work to be done in the security arena and in a variety of other significant details that have to be ironed out prior to the conduct of those elections. >> do you think hamid karzai has gotten an unfair rap. >> i think he's in a very, very difficult position. again this is afghanistan. this is a country that is not a developed country.
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it has a checkered past when it comes to issues such as corruption. i don't think anyone has alleged that he is party to any of that. he is in fact just just announced, of course, the ending of the private security contractor roles here in afghanistan. at least it's incumbent on us to help with this, to ensure that our money is not undermining our very efforts by ending up in the pockets of those who are not inclusive. they are exclusive when it comes to the way that they're carrying out their activities in various communities. but we are fully supportive of that. we're going to do everything that we can to help the ministry of interior to deal with that and to figure out the way ahead. in some cases we're going to have to take on some of those tasks as will the afghan forces have to do more as well. >> couric: this is going to be hard given the fact that you're stretched pretty thin as is. >> it will be hard. again there's nothing easy about anything in afghanistan. that's rule number one if you
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will or observation number one. it's all hard and it's hard all the time. >> schieffer: general petraeus. when we come back we'll get a whole different take on all this from greg mortenson, the american who has built 150 schools for afghanistan's children and whose book "three cups of tea" is now required reading for our military officers there. greg mortenson when we come back in one minute. [ male announcer ] this is steven, a busy man. his day starts with his arthritis pain. that's breakfast with two pills. the morning is over, it's time for two more pills. the day marches on, back to more pills. and when he's finally home... but hang on -- just two aleve can keep arthritis pain away all day with fewer pills than tylenol. this is steven, who chose aleve and fewer pills for a day free of pain. and get the all day pain relief of aleve in liquid gels.
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>> schieffer: we're back now with greg mortenson. for those of you who have not read his book "three cups of tea," this man went to afghanistan 17 years ago to climb a mountain. he was coming off the mountain and became disoriented. some villagers in afghanistan found him, took him to their village, helped him to recover, probably saves his life. once he was fully back to good health he said to them, what can i do to help you? and they said help us build a school. he went back home, raised some
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money. had no idea, no background in how you do that sort of thing. to make a long story short that was 17 years ago. since then greg mortenson has built 150 schools in afghanistan. 20 more are in the pipeline now. and he's put thousands upon thousands of afghan children in school, most of them girls. greg, your story is just miraculous. you tell it so well in your two books. first "three cups of tea" and now your new one "stones into schools." tell us first what does this three cups of tea, what does that mean? >> thanks, bob. great to see you this morning. an old village chief in pakistan when i first was struggling to build the first school it took me three years. he sat me down once after three years i was very frustrated. he said if you want to build a school you need three cups of tea. the first cup is a stranger, the second cup is a friend. the third cup you become
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family. he was talking about relationships. before we do anything it's imperative that we have relationships. >> schieffer: since then you have become an advisor to both general petraeus and to the chairman of the joint chiefs mike mullen. how did that come about? >> i'm a military veteran. i was in the army. what i saw in my original book three cups of tea, i was critical after of the military after 9/11 i said they're all laptop warriors in boots on the ground. about four years ago i started getting contacted by military commanders to ask to help the troops understand about cultural nuances and working in tribal societies. i voluntarily do this. i don't receive any federal or d.o.d. money. the generals' wives read the book first. >> schieffer: admiral mullen's wife. >> like holy petraeus and deborah mullen. they said, honey, you ought to check this out. general petraeus said there
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are three important points in three cups of tea. number one we need to have respect meaning humility. we're there to serve the people. number two we need to listen more. number three we have to build relationships. the book now is required reading for senior military commanders and many divisions of the military. >> schieffer: why do you think you've succeeded? what is it that you were able to do because not only are you able to get these schools built in schools that are controlled by people who are friendly to our side. you're getting them built in taliban areas. you actually deal with the taliban. how do you do that? >> well there's two key ingredients. the first is it's not about helping people but empowering people. that means involving them in the process. i grew up in tanzania. my father started a hospital. he insisted that africans be in charge. he actually got later on fired for having believed that africans could run the hospital. today the hospital is totally
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run by africans. we also insist that the community gives free land, free labor, sweat equity. we provide the teacher training materials and skill labor but there has to be local buy-in. that sometimes is a problem in the u.s. we tend to throw money at problems. we have to get buy-in from the people themselves. >> schieffer: these schools most of your students or many students are girls. this is almost unheard of in some of these very remote muslim countries. how have you convinced them to let girls go to school? >> lots of cups of tea, bob. our key is we get the elders involved. in afghanistan they're called the shura. every province has 500 to 200 shura. we have them in meetings. most of the shura are very... they'red add voks for girls' education. we also, you know, you can ask any woman in afghanistan or pakistan what do you want? they'll say we don't want our babies to die. we want our children to go to school.
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>> schieffer: what do you tell our military people to succeed? i mean, do you think we're making any progress here? >> i definitely see progress. but it's not because of the surge. it's because of the way things are done. it actually started with general mcchrystal when he first was appointed commander last june he asked me and a couple other people to facilitate meeting with the elders from various rural provinces. the elders were very firm about "please do not bomb and kill civilians." "please involve us in discussions." recently there was an operation plan from khandahar to pakistan to sweep out afghanistan. general mcchrystal called off the operation because the elders told him you don't have the relationships. i'm glad now that general petraeus has also decided to wait until there's more relationship building and
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capacity building. >> schieffer: how much progress? you're getting these girls into schools. about 64,000 students i think have gone through your schools but actually there's pretty encouraging statistics about schools in general in afghanistan. we sometimes overlook. >> tremendous progress. the number of children in school ten years ago was 800,000. today there's eight million children in school. including 2.8 million females. also land ownership is skyrocketing. if you go into the district courts, more and more women are filing titles for land ownership. recently the minister of education asked for 247 million dollars to fund the entire higher education in afghanistan. he's probably going to get about $50 million. but my thinking was maybe we could pull 248 troops, a million dollars per troop and fund the entire higher education system for
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afghanistan. >> schieffer: greg, we have a lot of politicians on this broadcast and a lot of great people. we don't have a lot of people that i consider a hero. to me you are a hero to the american people. we want to thank you for what you've done and wish you godspeed in your continuing work. >> thank you, bob. >> schieffer: thank you so much. fwhak a moment with some final words. [ male announcer ] even before science was science,
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not only can great minds find one another and compare too so too can the nuts and the perverts and those who are looking to validate their prejudices. despite a mountain of evidence to the contrary a new poll tells us a growing number of americans, most of them on the right, believe barack obama is a muslim. no doubt due in part to the fact that stories to that effect have gone viral on the internet. disagreeing with our leaders is our right. in truth part of the fun of being an american. but to suggest the president is a muslim is absurd. no matter how fervently some who dislike him may wish it so. the purpose here though is is not to argue politics but just to underscore how this illustrates the downside of the internet, the only news delivery system we've ever had that has no editor. we must always remember that. what we read there may not always be true. back in a minute.
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